A New Year, A New Plan… Moving Our Business Forward

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We are back!!!

Happy New Year, I Hope you all had a wonderful festive period with your loved ones and are having a great start to 2017.

Today we re-open Cards And Candles For All Occasions after our extended, one month, Christmas break and along with those closest to me we have decided that I need to make some changes to the way I run the business.

As much as I love the handcrafted work I do and dealing with so many amazing people, both customers and suppliers, over the past few months I have been forced to stop and look at my own health too. Since launching Cards And Candles For All Occasions in April 2010, I have been working full time hours every day of every week, some times working straight through the night to meet customer deadlines or get things all done and the realisation has now come to me that I cannot continue in this way.

At thirty six years old, I have been suffering with Fibromyalgia, Depression and Anxiety for a number of years and especially over the past eighteen months my health has been deteriorating, there are days where I feel unable to function but I sit at my desk doing the best that I can to fulfill all of my commitments to our business and customers.

The end part of 2016 was particularly difficult for me as my health was not in a good place due to the hours I was working, I was taking on more orders than I could handle as I did not want to disappoint anyone and in turn this was adding to the need for working excessive hours and stress levels were rising. It was getting to the stage whereby I could barely function effectively as I was so exhausted, in huge amounts of pain and I constantly felt stressed. Something needed to change.

I took the decision to have an extended break over the Christmas period to give myself some time to recharge (I slept most of Christmas, only really waking up for my pain medication), re-evaluate the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and plan the best way to move forward with my business. The thought of closing the business was considered and discussed, but this is the last thing I want to do. I know what I want to do, I just have to put those plans into action.

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Over the last couple of weeks we have made a lot of decisions about the future of Cards And Candles For All Occasions and how we plan to move the business forward… in order for me to be able to continue with the handcrafted business which I love, the biggest change I have to make is to reduce the hours in my working week.

Until now I have pretty much been working seven days a week, every hour possible and it is having a detrimental effect on my health – the increasing pain, the insomnia and exhaustion, the mental effects of Fibromyalgia, they all contribute to making me miserable and the thing I have found hardest of all is accepting that I cannot keep up with the lifestyle and working life I held before Fibromyalgia took over.

I never thought I would end up in a wheelchair with a chronic illness at just thirty five years old!! But here I am, this is the life I have and now I have to move forward with a plan to make the most of what I have, make things so that they are manageable and in the bigger picture remember to look after myself too.

I need to find a suitable “Work + Life = Balance” otherwise, as a friend stated this morning:

You need to stick to the plan sweetheart or you will be permanently closed. Invest in you xx

The last thing that I want to do is to be forced by my health to close my business, but I can totally agree with the above comment as the way I was going before Christmas I was heading for a serious burn out and I cannot afford either physically, mentally or financially to risk this in the long-term.

Today is a big day for Cards And Candles For All Occasions as not only are we re-opening for 2017, but today is also the day we are implementing the changes which have been decided upon which will allow me to continue to work with you, our wonderful customers, on the unique, handcrafted and personalised products we all love.

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As I have said above, the biggest change we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions is our business working hours, with immediate effect our working hours are as follows:

Monday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Tuesday – open from 12:00noon until 6:00pm

Wednesday – CLOSED

Thursday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Friday – open from 11:00am until 5:00pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday CLOSED

We hope that you will understand our reasons for reducing our working hours and in time, once we adjust to our new schedule we are hoping that it will make us more efficient in dealing with your enquiries and processing/handcrafting your orders. My hope is that by reducing my working hours it will help to improve my mental and physical health allowing me to be more productive when I am working, therefore if all goes to plan there should be minimal disruption to our customers.

about-your-online-order

The second change that we are making to Cards And Candles For All Occasions to help in moving forward more efficiently is lead times for our orders, with immediate effect we have listed below the minimum amount of notice we will require for each product we sell to allow us to source materials, design and handcraft your product ready for dispatch:

Standard Greeting Cards
Minimum 10 days notice

Keepsake Cards (eg. Bookatrix, Easel Drawer, Handbag)
Minimum 14 days notice

Exploding Box Keepsake
Minimum 21 days notice

Ecosoy Candles
Minimum 14 days notice

Wooden Gifts (eg. Themed Frames, Plaques, Candle Holders)
Minimum 21 days

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and look forward to working with you throughout 2017 and beyond.

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions website

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook

Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter

Handcrafted Keepsake Gift Box – Baby Boy’s Christening

Our newest keepsake card design is proving very popular and I have to say I am loving working on something a little bit different… this is an 8x8inch easel card which is mounted on top of a handcrafted drawer which incorporates the card and gift box in one.

This particular design is for a baby boy’s Christening and incorporates a Sugar Nellie digital stamp which has been coloured using Promarker pens, before being die cut using an X-Cut scalloped circle die. There is also a die cut, layered cross with floral embellishments and a Christening themed verse and personalisation.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (4)

We also added a lacy Christening gown as the baby boy’s parents are following tradition and he will be wearing their family heirloom gown – it is such a lovely change to hear of a baby who is wearing traditional wear at their Christening, made even more special having previously been worn by other family members.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (1)

The base of this keepsake is made using pearlised cardstock, this is an opening drawer which means a gift can be placed inside the gift box or this can be used for other keepsakes by the recipient.

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (6)

Christening Keepsake for Rupert Brian (5)

This design of keepsake card can be handcrafted to any colour scheme, theme or occasion to give a unique and personalised gift for your loved one.

If you would like to discuss your requirements for a keepsake like this or indeed any of your greetings card or keepsake card requests, please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

xxx Love Laura xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions

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Wordless Wednesday – 18/03/2015

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Handcrafted Baby Bereavement Greeting Card

Handcrafted ‘baby bereavement’ greeting card, personalised with baby’s name with our customers personal message inside.

Baby loss/bereavement greetings and keepsake cards are always the hardest to work with but mean so much to grieving families.

Jake

Wordless Wednesday – Home Decor and Gifts

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Updating Our E-Commerce Presence

CACFAO Owl Banner

Today has been a busy “behind the scenes” day, we have been doing some background work on the website, updating our Etsy store and also setting up a stall on SuperMums Craft Fair. We have lots of new products to photograph and add to our online stores and website, however we need to do our stock take and photograph/re-photograph all of our items before uploading to our shops.

I Sell On Etsy

We have previously had our items listed on Etsy and found it to be very successful, especially our baby loss range of candles… these seem to be a very popular product which is very sad as it shows just how many people have been affected by baby loss. We have listed more of our baby loss awareness candles and baby bereavement greetings cards as this is something very close to our hearts and we feel that if we are able to provide the smallest bit of comfort to a family who is going through this distressing situation then it is all worthwhile. On our Etsy shop you will also find our decorated themed box frames… this is a small selection of the themes we are able to create and if you have something particular in mind then please email us at admin@cardsandcandlesforalloccaions.co.uk

Etsy-com

A few weeks ago a friend recommended the SuperMums website to us… an online craft fair with very reasonable hosting costs and a very supportive group of people. So today we took the step and signed up. At the moment we only have our decorated themed box frames listed for the same reasons as our Etsy shop – we need to do a stock take and photograph all of our items.

Supermums Logo

We would love your support, we have items for Mothers Day, New Baby Boy, New Baby Girl, Baby Loss and Retro Lego home decor so why not pop over and visit us… please tell your friends about our new products and we would appreciate a visit from the Sales Fairy đŸ˜‰

Go Shopping at Cards And Candles For All Occasions on The SuperMums Craft Fair website.

Pop over and browse some fab handmade goodies on Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Etsy’s website.

Come over and have a chat on Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Facebook page.

Visit our website at www.cardsandcandlesforalloccasions.co.uk

Follow us on Twitter at Cards And Candles For All Occasions on Twitter.

Kidsgrove Victorian Market – 30th November 2013

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Tomorrow we will be at Kidsgrove Town Hall for their annual Victorian Christmas market… there will be lots of opportunity for Christmas shopping, treating yourselves and supporting local charities including Staffordshire SANDS.

We know for certain that the following will have stalls:

1. Cards And Candles For All Occasions – www.facebook.com/CardsAndCandlesForAllOccasions

2. Badger’s Woodcrafts – www.facebook.com/BadgersWoodcrafts

3. Felt Sew Great – www.facebook.com/FeltSewGreat

4. Kelly’s Enchanted Castle – www.facebook.com/KellysEnchantedCastle

5. Staffordshire SANDS – www.facebook.com/staffordshiresands

and lots, lots more

Come and see us, say hello and join in the festive fun at:

Kidsgrove Town Hall (Victoria Hall)
Liverpool Road
Kidsgrove
Stoke on Trent
ST7 4EL

Saturday 30th November 2013

This event is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm

At this event there will be Santa’s Grotto, Victorian Tearoom, Handmade local products (including us!!), Traditional and Vintage stalls, Dress Up Competition and lots of festive entertainment.

Come along and SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES and join us at this fantastic event… can’t wait to see you all!!

xxx Lots of love from Laura and Gordon xxx

Cards And Candles For All Occasions – website

Badger’s Woodcrafts – website